Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rolex “Sea Dweller” Watch

The Rolex “Sea Dweller” Watch

The Rolex Submariner watch is part of the Rolex line of diving watches.  Launched in 1967, the Rolex Sea Dweller has a diving depth range of 610 metres to 3,900 metres depending on the age of the model.   The Sea Dweller is more improved version of the Rolex Submariner watch, boasting increased crystal thickness and a helium escape valve for saturation diving.  The Sea Dweller also features a sapphire glass cover that allow it to sustain such immense depths and a date magnifier, also known as the “Cyclops.”  Rolex recently introduced the line’s newest model, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA, at the 2008 BaselWorld watch and jewelry show.  This updated Sea Dweller has a depth range of 3,900 metres and was determined to be the most water-resistant mechanical watch in serial production.

The History of the Rolex “Sea Dweller” Watch
(courtesy of

Rolex discovered the need to create something even more sophisticated than the Submariner when, during the 1960s, COMEX--a French commercial diving company--reported a technical problem that its divers faced with the model 5513 Rolex Submariner. It was caused due to the de-compression chambers where the watch literally exploded from the case. This occurred after long periods of extreme pressure at great depths, whereby helium particles would penetrate the watch's crystal and seal but were unable to escape when the diver went through the decompression chambers. Rolex quickly realized that while Submariners were awesome performers even at excessive amounts of pressure from outside, they actually failed due to the inner pressure created on deep dives.

As a quick solution, Rolex fitted a one-way gas escape valve on one side of the case, positioned opposite the winding crown in the special Submariner 5513 models. As these were specially issued to the COMEX divers, some of these models even bore the “COMEX” logo. The problem with this solution was that after every six months, the watches needed to be sent in for maintenance. Later in 1967, Rolex rolled out another model: 5514. These were also specially fitted Submarines. But this time, they bore not only the “COMEX” logo on the dial and also the COMEX identification numbers on the back. The commitment of Rolex to deliver the best encouraged it to come out with a new, special line of watches which would be meant for only harsher conditions at great sea depths, leading to the birth of the Rolex Sea-Dweller.


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